EU Commission Abandons Current EU Seed Law Proposal

December 18, 2014 · Filed Under EU Seed Legislation · Comment 

The EU Commission announced yesterday their intention to abandon the proposed new seed law regulation. This means short of a specific request from the EU Parliament for a return of the proposal, it’s unlikely to resurface.  This leaves some uncertainty, but it seems likely the proposed regulation is now dead.  Here is the announcement and Annex II, the so-called ‘kill list’.

The EU Commission probably now has to come up with another proposal.  For the time being, it leaves the existing EU seed law directives unchanged.  Since there is pressure for returning decision making to national governments, and reducing administrative burden, there is hope that a new proposal will go much further towards a straightforward repeal of existing seed laws rather than just a simple rebranding and otherwise strengthening of industry control.

Parliament

The EU Commission informally consulted the Parliament before this decision was taken.  The answer back was very unclear, and did not indicate a clear preference one way or another.  Some independent and informal polling of MEPs suggests quite a lot of disagreement between the different factions.  The chances are it will be more of a fight to stop the proposal the next time around, and the situation will be more complicated.

Paquebot 2015 Tomato List

December 4, 2014 · Filed Under Seed Saving, Seeds · Comment 

Tomatoes!

Paquebot recently asked me to update the list of tomatoes he’s offering from what I posted here for him 2 years ago.

Paquebot lives in Wisconsin, USA. He’s offering hundreds of tomatoes, organized into the year grown, giving an indication of the age of the seeds. Tomato seed are normally good for about 10 years, sometimes more, so age isn’t an issue if you plant them within the next couple of years.

If you’re interested in anything here, send me an email and I’ll forward it to him.

2013-14 seeds
African Brown
Alter Kommunist
Amish Potato Leaf
Amursky Tiger
Amuuri Kiirevalmiv
Angora Orange
Aurora de Tigenesti
Big Cheef
Big Pink
Big Ray’s Argentine Paste
Black Icicle
Black Roma
Black Yum Yum
Blonde Boar
Blondkopfchen
Boudyo
Brandywine From Croatia
Brazilian Paste
Brin de Muguet
Bulgarian Red Giant
Buzau 22
C1943
Campbell’s
Campbell 19
Campbell 22
Campbell 24
Campbell 31
Campbell 33
Campbell 37
Campbell 119
Campbell 222
Campbell 1138
Campbell 1327
Canabec Rose
Captain Lucky
Champ Martin
Charlie’s Giant Italian Paste
Cherry Brandywine
Church
Cooper’s Special
Costa Rica
Crnkovic Gold
Cynthia’s Black Oxheart
Da Chilo
Daho
De Barao Zolotoy
Dester
Djena Lee’s Golden Girl
Earl’s Faux
Early Crop
Early Harvest
Emerald Apple
Frank’s Large Red
Fregat
G10132
German
Gezahnte
Giant Bear Claw
Giant Honey
Giant Willie
Golden Cherokee
Gail’s Sweet Plum
Grandpa Cock’s Plum
Great Divide
Haley’s Purple Comet
Heinz 1409
Heinz 1630
Heinz 2990
Huang Se Cheh
Ideal
Illini Gold
Indiana Baltimore
Ispolin
Italian Gold
Jerusalem
Jitka
Juhas
Jujube
Khirhiv
King of Siberia
Komohana
Large Raste
Lee’s Sweet
Lehrertomate
Lithuanian Crested Pink
Livingston’s Golden Queen
Livingston’s Main Crop Pink
Lollipop
McKinley
Marizol Magic
Marmande Garnier Rouge
Moment
Negro de Silex
New Zealand Paste
Old Macedonian
Olena Ukrainian
Orange Icicle
Orenburg Giant
Osmala
Pearly Pink
Peppermint
Pink Bumblebee
Pink Shipper
Plaisir Paradisiaque
Poljarnik
Power’s Heirloom
Pumpkin
Purple Riders
Purple Smudge
Rjabchik
Romanian Cow’s Tit
Romanian Oxheart
Rose d’Eauze
Rozovoi Mod
Russian Big Roma
Sahalin
SC2121
Schiavone Italian Paste
Strawberry
Summer Sunrise
Tegucigulpa
Terma
Tomadose Des Comores
Vesuvio
Yellow Ruffled
Zaitska
Zemljak

2012 Seeds
Annie
Belize Pink Heart
Bianca Cherry
Bing Cherry
Chello
Christmas Grapes
Box Car Willie
Campbell 54
Campbell 135
Campbell 146
Caspian Pink
Charlie’s Green
Dalmatiner
Dancing With Smurfs
Flame
Franchi Giant Pear
German Lunchbox
Gift From The Woodlands
Golden Ponderosa
Green Castle
Green Sleeves
Halliday’s Mortgage Lifter
Homestead
Kumato
Lincoln Adams
Livingston’s Perfection
Malachite Box
Middlefield Amish Paste
Midnight in Moscow
Mobil
Mortgage Lifter
Myth
Oakling
Opalka
OSU Blue
Out of the Blue
Paquebot Roma
Pastel Orange Heart
Perfect Storm
Pineapple
PSR 37
Rambling Stripes Red
Razzleberry Pink
Red Lightning
Red Rock
Russian Bull Heart
San Marzano Redorta
Shah Mikado
Sky Reacher
South American Banana
Sunset Red Horizon
Sweet Carneros Pink
Tennessee Black
Texas Star
Tsar Kolokol
Vintage Wine
Volovsko Srce Slovenian
Warren’s Yellow
Wisconsin 55
Wisconsin 55 Gold
Yellow Mortgage Lifter

2011 Seeds
1884
1884 Purple
ABC Potato Leaf (ch)
African Queen
Andes Horn
Anna Aasa, Red (ch)
Anna Aasa, Yellow (ch)
Ashleigh
Banana Legs
Believe It Or Not
Big Zebra
Brimmer
Buckbee’s New 50 Day
Cabin
Canadian Heart
Carol Chyko’s Big Paste
Count Banyani
Doubloon
Eli
Gildo Pietroboni
Green Ghost
Heinz 2653
Homer Fike’s Yellow Oxheart
Hunt’s Family Favorite
Libanaise des Montagnes
Magyar Piros Boker
Mirabell, Red
Mr. Tartar’s
New Yorker
Novosadski Jabucar
Orange Oxheart
Pomodoro di Albenga/Luguria
Red Barn
Rio Grande
Rostova
Sicilian Saucer
Skorospelka
Spark’s Yellow
Stardust Cherry (ch)
Strawberry Margarita
Sun Baby (ch)
Sylvan Gaume
Tangello
Tappy’s Heritage
Tarasenko 6
T.C. Jones
Terhune
Tlacolula
Tlacolula, Yellow
Veepick
White Rabbit (ch)
White Snowball
Wild Rose
Winsall
Winsall Gold

2010 seeds
Absinthe
Amazon Chocolate
Arkansas Traveller
Armenian
Aunt Ruby’s German Green Cherry
Babywine
Barnes Mountain Yellow
Basket Vee
Beaute Blanche de Canada
Belle Angevine
Big Rainbow
Black Crimson
Black Elephant
Black Ethiopian
Black Zebra
Bonne du Roussillon
Canestrino
Chadwick Cherry
Cherokee Chocolate
Chuda Rynka
Coburg
Copia
Coyotte
Creole
Early Chatham
Falcon
Fidelio
Gary O’Sena
German Gold
Goji Faranji
Goldman’s Italian American
Gold Nugget
Grandma Josie
Hong Yuen
Huayu
Indian Stripe
Jack White
Large Black & Red Boar
Large Red Cherry
Livingston’s Paragon
Marion
Mark Twain
Mazarini
Meme Beauce
Mule Team
Negro Azteca
Old Brooks
Peaches & Cream
Quingza
Radio
Red Target
Regina’s Yellow
Rita’s Black Pear
Rutgers
Serre Wonder
Shumway’s Sensation
Sioux
Southern Night
Sugar Plum
Super Sioux
Tangella
Tasmanian Yellow
Urbanite
Valiant
Velvet Red
Wagon Wheel
White Oxheart
Wisconsin Chief
Yellow Scotland
Zigan

2009 seeds
Aker’s West Virginia Black
Albany Georgia Heirloom
Amish Paste
Anna Hermann
Apelsin
Apricot Brandywine
Aunt Ruby’s German Green
Banjan Roomii
Belgian Heart
Big White Pink Stripes
Black Sea Man
Bosu
Buckeye Yellow
Carbon
Caro Rich
Chico III
Chocolate Cherry
Cour de Bou
Cow’s Tit
Eagle’s Beak
Endless Summer
Ernesto
Fantome de Laos
Giraffe
Guido
Guernsey Island
Hawaiian Orange Cherry
Hawaiian Pineapple
Hazelfield Farm Red
Heinz 1439
Japanese Black Triffle
Kardinal
Lagidny
Limmony
Marizol Purple
Mirabell, Yellow
Monkey Ass
Moya
Northern Crown
Northern Lights
Pantano Romanesco
Persimmon
Pink Ruffled
Portugal Monster
Principe Borghese
Riesentraube
Rozovii Giant
Sainte Lucie
Siberian
Silvery Fir Tree
Snowberry
Super Snow White
Ten Fingers of Naples
Tennessee Britches
The Orange
Tiny Tim
Togo Trefele
Turks Muts
Volgogradskij 5/95
Vorlon
West Virginia Pink Slicer
Willamette
Yellow 1884 Pinkheart

2008 seeds
Amish Red
Belarusan Heart
Besser
Black From Tula
Black Plum
Black Prince
Bloody Butcher
Boondocks
Borgio Cellano
Brianna
Cherokee Purple (PL)
Chianti Rose
Chocolate Stripes
Dinner Plate
Dr. Lyle
Dorothy’s Mennonite Beefsteak
Dorothy’s Mennonite Bicolor
Dorothy’s Mennonite Big Heart
Douce de Picardie (PL)
German Head
Giant Belgium
Giant Oxheart
Giant Roma
Giant Tree
Gigante Liscio
Golden Dwarf Champion
Hungarian Italian Paste
Japanese Oxheart
King Pineapple
Lancaster Pink
Large Pink Bulgarian
Legend
Long Keeper
Marglobe
Market Miracle
Mexico
Noire Russie
Old German
Preacher
Red Heart Yellow
Red Penna
Red Zebra
Russian Annie
Sandul Moldovan
Spoon
Super Beefsteak
Super Choice
Tater Kin
Taxi
Teton de Venus
Thessaloniki Oxheart
Valencia Pink
Watermelon Beefsteak
White Tomesol
Woodle Orange
Wuhib
Yamal

2007 seeds
Ace 55
Amana Orange
Ananas Noir
Aunt Madge’s
Aussie
Bear Claw
Beauty King
Berkeley Tie Dyed
Black Oxheart
Blue Beech
Boyarsky
Boy Boy
Brown Berry
Bull’s Heart
Burracker’s Favorite
Carmelo
Chateau Rose
Clover Trefle
Costoluto Fiorentino
Crimson Cushion
Crnkovic Jugoslavian
Danish Export
Des Andes Jaune
German Queen
Gogosha
Greater Baltimore
Gregori Altai
Grosse Cotelee
Hartman’s Yellow Gooseberry
Hog Heart
Howard German
Japanese Golden Pear
Julia Child
Kalman’s Hungarian
Korney’s Jelly Bean
Kosovo
Lemon Giant
Lumpy Red
Mandarine
Matt’s Wild Cherry
Mennonite Orange
Merveilles des Marches
Minibel
Nelson’s Golden Giant
Novikov Giant
Oaxacan Jewel
Olive Doree
Orange Giant
Paul Robeson
Peacevine Cherry
Pigmeo
Pipo
Pomodoro Palla di Fuoco
Pomodoro Red Pear
Raspberry Giant
Sausage
Scatalone
Selandia
Super Marmande
Tiger Tom
Tumbling Tom
UC82B
Ukrainian Pear
Wanda’s PT
Wes
Zebra
Zorica’s Croatian Bull Eye

2006 Seeds
Abraham Lincoln
Amish Salad
Amish Yellow
Aunt Gertie’s Gold
Aztec
Balkon Star
Black Cherry
Bradley
Cherry Roma
Cherokee Green
Cosmonaut Volkov
Croatian Heart
Douce de Picardie (RL)
Emeraude
Gardeners Delight
Garden Peach, Red
Garden Peach, Yellow
German Pink
Giant Syrian
Goose Creek
Greenbush Italian
Green Cherry
Green Giant
Green Zebra
Harvard Square
John Baer
Kristina Vatcheva
Leatha’s
Lemon Drop
Lithuanian
Long Tom
Marianna’s Conflict
Marianna’s Peace
Medford
Moby Grape
Mr. Fumo
Novogogoshary
Nyagous, Red
Oregon Spring
Perito Italian
Roman Candle
Segler
Sheyenne
Striped Cavern
Surender’s Indian Curry
Tigerella
Tommy Toes, Red
Tommy Toes, Yellow
Ugly Ripe
Voyage
West Virginia 63
Yellow Pear
Yoder’s German Yellow

This is Your Brain on Beer

December 3, 2014 · Filed Under Food and Drink, Political · Comment 

If you grew up in America in the ’70s or ’80s, you certainly know this ad that was played on TV.  Even then it was very controversial, and no one really took it seriously, but it was an important part of the mindset that led to the war on drugs.  It was part of this vague, pseudo-science, that in effect was to make young people believe cigarettes were the only safe drug to use.

We’ve just had a similar ‘education campaign’ in Europe, that led to the drinking age being raised in several places, including Holland.  This happened even over the objections of parents of young people, the majority of whom wanted their children to continue to be able to buy alcohol.  Drinking damages the brains of young people, was the rallying call.  Isn’t it time we grew up, and stopped this kind of nonsense?

A recent study now shows no statistical correlation between alcohol use in young people and brain development.  How is this study different from all those other studies in the past that showed young brains were damaged?  Well, previous studies concentrated on young people who had signs of dependence on alcohol, and who often had other psychiatric problems.  This latest study focused on a typical cross section of the population, and compared young but otherwise normal drinkers with their non-drinking counterparts.

Labeling Calories is Misleading and Should be Banned

October 31, 2014 · Filed Under Food and Drink, Science · Comment 

It wasn’t long ago since tar and nicotine content labeling were determined misleading and removed from cigarette packaging. Not only misleading, but a powerful advertising mechanism, making addicted customers think they were buying a safer product. Now it’s time to take the next big step in consumer protection, and ban labeling of calories in food.

What is a Calorie?

A calorie is a measure of heat. Quite literally, in order to determine the amount of calories in food, the food is set alight and the amount of heat given off is measured.

Since our bodies don’t metabolize food this way, there’s no meaningful comparison that can made between calories and human health.

What do we Know About the Effect of Calories on our Health?

Some studies have shown for example a relationship between eating a lot of high calorie food and weight gain, or eating fewer calories and loosing weight. It might be that some health professional recommends some specific diet that might include a change in the number of calories.

Statistics show however that most people who try to lose weight with a low calorie diet nearly always fail in the end, and gain back even more weight. I would be very suspicious of any health professional recommending such a diet.

In any case, this weight gain or loss is not always permanent, and nothing credible can be said about it’s effect on our health. Any generalized statement on public health related to calories would not be credible, and likewise labeling foods with their calorie content is misleading to consumers.

Any public campaign that results in people eating more or fewer calories, is food company propaganda, as they strive to make ever more money off of misleading people in their perception of their own health.

How is Food Calorie Content Used?

Around the time of WWII and just before, protein was used as a measure for food and ‘food quality’. This is the major reason why meat and dairy production was so dramatically increased in the years following the war. In these years, the chicken egg was often identified as ‘the perfect food’, because it’s almost pure protein. In some Germanic languages the word for protein is the same as egg white, probably for this reason.

In the years after choosing protein as the measure of food quality, a major backlash occurred. This was primarily because by this measure a vegetarian diet was inadequate, and most of the world at the time was vegetarian or vegan. There was quite a lot of indignation as institutions such as the WHO began imposing high protein diets on the world’s population, in the name of improving public health.

We should receive current efforts to change our calorie intake with the same indignation.

After much debate, protein was eventually replaced with calories. I think most people involved in this issue don’t recognize calories as a great improvement over protein, only that it no longer stigmatizes a vegetarian diet.

After choosing calorie, it became clear this measure also had it’s flaws. Different people and cultures react differently on a diet with a fixed numbers of calories. It depends a lot on how active you are, as well as your age, sex and genetic factors. They ‘fixed’ this problem by creating various charts, and acceptable calorie ranges, instead of trying to work from a single number.

There’s really nothing any more that can be said about diets being healthy according to calories than there was with protein, only no one has a better idea at the moment of a another measure to use.

Marktplaats

October 23, 2014 · Filed Under Pat 'n' Steph · 2 Comments 

Watch out for Markplaats!

Here’s another post not very related to seeds and gardening.  It’s also somewhat specific to the Netherlands, but I think it’s a useful thing to be in English, because there are expats who may read this.  Those of you who live other places may have similar websites.

Marktplats.nl is a website owned by Ebay, and primarily a place where you can put up free classified ads to buy and sell second hand things, either for a fixed price or auction.  It used to be an independent site, but got bought early on by Ebay.  It’s sort of a mini Dutch language Ebay, with things specific to the Netherlands.  As well as classified ads, it’s possible to leave reviews, giving your opinions on the merchants.  As well as free ads, there are various paid options, like better placement or the ability to mention an external website.  It’s very popular here, or at least used to be.

I regularly read comments on the Internet of people who try to use free ads.  They say they end up placed on page 9 or something, completely unfindable.  People also complain that as soon as you sign up and give them your email address, they flood you with spam, and you can never get them to stop.  It’s pretty clear, maybe logical, that they really only care about their customers who place paid ads.

It’s also not as safe a site as you might think.  It was in the news recently, that someone was arrested for pretending to sell tickets to events, but then just taking people’s money.  He ripped off more than 200 people before he was stopped, which is a lot of people for a country as small as the Netherlands.  You might wonder why on a site where you can leave comments about merchants, so many people would get ripped off.  The way it should work, is people should be able to leave reviews and ratings, and honest people should build up their own reputation.  Dishonest people should have a hard time getting established.

Well I just got ripped off using Marktplaats the other day, and in the process I learned something important about how it works.

I don’t usually use Marktplaats to buy and sell stuff, rather I look for services.  In this case, I was looking for a plumber.  I choose a plumber who had been on Marktplaats for 7 years or something silly like that, and only had positive reviews, all of them spread out one or two at a time, over the entire 7 years.  The name on the ad was ‘Daniel’, and only a mobile phone number and email address was given for contact information.  I also chose him based on geographic location, an option in the site’s search engine, because I only wanted to work with someone based nearby.

As it turned out, he had paid for multiple listings in multiple locations, and actually came from out of town.  Not only did he have multiple locations for the name ‘Daniel’, but I was able to see later that he also had multiple listings under other names.  When he showed up at my house, he wore a sort of uniform with the name AKC-Loodgieters, and there is a website with this name.

After getting ripped off by him, I went to Marktplaats to leave a negative review.  I created a new account using a disposable email address, clicked away their terms and conditions, and left my review which appeared instantly.  It was a pretty straight forward review, saying I was ripped off, explaining how and why, and advising others to choose another plumber.

Ik heb geen specifiek klachten over de qualiteit van de werkzaamheden, maar Daniel is geen bijzonder vakman. Ik heb €1450 betaald voor iets met waarde €700. Daniel biedt geen eerlijk dienst voor geen eerlijk prijs, en wel een oplichter is.

Eerst was de onderzoek. Voor dit moet ik €500 vooruit betalen. Hij moet naar Almere rijden voor een héél duur (2000 euro) apparaat met en camera om binnen mijn rioolering te kijken. Daniel was agressief en grof over dit vooruit betaling, dat niet normaal is. Hij was niet duidelijk hoezo dit zo duur moeten zijn. Dit onderzoek was met waarde €200, inclusief duur apparaat, en was niet sluitende over de oorzaak van de probleem.

Ten slotte was de reparatie. Eerst biedt Daniel een prijs van €2000, helemaal vooruit betaald. Dit heeft niets te doen met de werkzaamheden, gewoon wat ik was klaar om te betalen voor een oplossing. Daarna praten wij over de specifiek werkzaamheden, en komt naar een prijs van €700 inclusief onderdeel (Daniel zeg hij dacht de onderdeel kost €200), ook 100% vooruit betalen. Daniel daarna belt mij te zeggen de onderdeel was €450 en eist nog een betaling van €250, anders gebruikt hij een laag *qualiteit alternatief. Een gelijk onderdeel is wel bestelbaar op amazon.de voor €60-150, afhankelijk van qualiteit. Dit reparatie, inclusief onderdeel, heeft waarde van €500.

Dit advertentie heeft geen legitimatie bewijs, geen website, alleen een 06 nummer en de naam ‘Daniel’. Het zeg niets dat Daniel werkt ook als bedrijf AKC Loodgeiters. Je betaald contant, geen PIN, altijd 100% vooruit, altijd met grof en agresief eisen. Als je moet politie of jurdisch hulp, heeft je echt niets.

Bescherm je geld en veiligheid, kies een andere loodgeiter.

A few hours later, my review was removed and my newly created account was blocked.  I seem to have been banned from Marktplaats for leaving a negative review!  I started researching their terms and conditions, to see what I may have violated.  I found this: “Mag geen scheld- of kwetsende woorden bevatten”, which says reviews cannot contain swearing or ‘hurtful’ words.  It says if you violate these rules and are banned, you can contact their helpdesk and ask to be reinstated.

It’s now been 3 days since I sent a message to their helpdesk asking the reason my review was removed, and they haven’t answered  They seem much more interested in removing negative reviews then they are at helping you leave a negative review that satisfies their criteria as acceptable, and doesn’t contain any ‘hurtful’ words.  It would of course been no problem if I had created 3 or 4 new accounts with disposable email addresses, and left multiple positive reviews.

It’s now very clear to me how someone was able to cheat more than 200 people before being stopped by the police.  It’s much easier to file a police report than place a negative review!

Update

A few hours after making this post an item appeared in the news [in Dutch].

It says at least 8 times this year Marktplaats thieves used violence against their victims.  In different cases there were different injuries.  In one case a person lost a piece of their tooth.

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